Most professionals meet like professionals on a regular basis and on a variety of occasions. This could be at a networking event, a conference, or in the line ordering at a local restaurant. Whatever the moment is that you begin a conversation, you often can quickly tell whether or not a professional relationship could bud from that meeting. Are you both in the same field? Did you go to the same university? Do you know that same people?
Once you decide that the relationship would be beneficial to continue into the future, and you both agree to “keep in touch,” you’ll need to follow through on your word. Otherwise, it’s just another name in your network and not necessarily one of value.
There are a number of ways to nurture your new network friends. In fact, I recently came across a Forbes.com article that addresses this topic pretty well. I decided to share a few of their tips along with some thoughts of my own in the 4 Ways to Nurture Your Network below.
1. Connect on social media.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to keep in touch with someone is through one or more of the many social networks. Hesitancy in connecting through social media is a concept of the past for the most part. It’s become everyday practice for professionals to connect on LinkedIn, follow each other on Twitter and even friend each other on Facebook. With the advanced technologies engrained into today’s culture, it’s no secret that personal and professionals updates made online are there for all to see. Plus, it’s great for conversation starters. Did someone just celebrate a birthday or anniversary? Send them a message or call them on the phone to congratulate them and keep the relationship relevant.
2. Reach out when traveling.
If someone you’ve connected with has moved or lives in another location, you should reach out to them if you happen to travel to their town. This will show them that you’re thinking of them and are serious about keeping in touch. You never know what type of business opportunities they might be able to connect you with and vice versa—especially if you’re traveling to the location to begin with.
3. Invite them to events you’re attending.
For the professionals you meet that do live in the same city as you, it’s nice to let them know about industry events you plan on attending. This will show that you are in the know with what’s going on in your profession, and it shows a nice gesture that you’re inviting them along. You never know the full extent of someone else’s network and what impact that could have on yours. So, it’s good to meet with individuals and get to know them and the people that they know.
4. Make Valuable Introductions.
When speaking with your network, a good way to nurture the relationship is to see what value you can provide to them. Being selfless and not looking for what they can do for you right away, shows integrity and your generosity. See what challenges people are facing in their network. Is there someone you know who could mitigate that? If so, be sure to make the proper introductions—whether that be through LinkedIn, in person, via email or over the phone. There are many easy ways to make introductions for people that could potentially end up having a big effect on their careers. Be sure to take advantage of opportunities where you can help.
What are some other ways to nurture your network? Comment below and let us know!